A study at the Western Beef Development Centre looked at Russian wild rye pasture response from three different types of manure, raw from a drylot system, and leftovers from bale grazing and bale processing 64 cows on the field.
Soil samples prior to application were taken to ensure a level playing field.
“There was no difference between the check and where we put the nutrient out with the manure spreader,” said researcher Bart Lardner. “That’s because most of the nitrogen had left the manure pile.”
Where the cows had done the spreading, under the on-field systems, there was 250 per cent more ammonium and nitrate nitrogen.
“We were capturing nitrogen from the urine,” he said.
Nitrogen is excreted mainly in the form of urea in a beef cow. In the summer warmth, the urease enzyme becomes active and converts it to a form plants can use.
Pasture regrowth where the cows wintered was “phenomenal” at 2.5 times as much yield as the drylot manure and control strips.
Lardner’s colleagues looked at how much nutrient was captured from the “fertilizer bales.” They found that 34 per cent of the nitrogen and 22 per cent of the phosphorus in the round bales showed up in the pasture the following year under in-field bale grazing and bale processing wintering systems.
With the drylot manure scooped out of the pens, only one per cent of theN and three per cent of the Pemained.